Monthly Archives: December 2013

Sudden Attack Review – The Original Counter-Strike Clone

By Michael Sagoe (mikedot)

 

Long along, before the gaming market was flooded by tons of CoD: Modern Warfare copycats, there was a little known FPS title called “Counter-Strike” which started the whole Military FPS trend in the first place. For its time, it was one of the most played online games out there, with highly addictive, multiplayer focused gameplay and considerably realistic gun physics.  Lots of developers wanted to make their own version of Counter-Strike in an attempt to capture their fanbase, and back in 2005, South Korean game developer GameHi created “Sudden Attack”, which was the first of many Counter-Strike clones to come.

Since 2011, Nexon of America has hosted a localized version of Sudden Attack, promoting it as a “Back to basics FPS”. Well by today’s standards, it certainly is basic, in more ways than one…

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In Sudden Attack: There are no kill-streaks, iron sights, sprinting, care packages or anything special that can turn the tide of battle with a single key press. It’s just you, your firearm, your team, and your opponents. The core gameplay for Sudden Attack places emphasis on skillful aim and teamwork rather than straight-up running & gunning. Gamers that are used to modern FPSs will have to re-learn many aspects including gun control, communication, and even patience.  Since each weapon has different amounts of recoil and bullet spread, each shot must be fired with care. Just like in Counter-Strike, players will have to either stand still or crouch down in order to decrease weapon spread and recoil, which will seem like a pain at first, but after a few or so matches, this should become second nature to the player.

A perfectly placed headshot from almost any firearm can result in a one-hit kill, which somewhat rules out the possibility of players being able to buy their way to victory using an overpowered weapon. Also: players can pick up weapons from fallen teammates or enemy soldiers, so that golden CM901 assault rifle or that blue M4A1 with the chainsaw on it isn’t going to make you any more powerful compared to that random solider using a basic AK-47 if you don’t know how to use it properly.

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Of course, all weapons have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to player communication and coordination in order to cover up the slack. As expected, finding coordination among randomly made teams can be nearly impossible, but the game does come equipped with radio chat commands that can be accessed using Z, X and C keys. While this system was also pulled straight from Counter-Strike, it works well enough for players to get their messages out quick and easy.

Due to relatively small maps, the pacing of a single match is considerably faster compared to a modern military FPS.  Despite the fact that skillful players will be more patient when approaching choke points, especially during demolition matches where players cannot respawn after a kill, time limits are constantly breathing down everyone’s neck, so you can expect matches with body counts piling up quickly.

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As mentioned, the game was released in South Korea back in 2005, and since then, there hasn’t been any significant change to the game’s engine, so everything about Sudden Attack is dated, from the character models to the environments, textures and sound effects. Character models in particular have very low polygon counts, as well as low-resolution textures that tend to look blurry when played on a high resolution screen setting. Speaking of resolutions, the highest screen resolution available is 1600 x 1200, so if your monitor goes any higher than that, you’ll have to deal with black bars on the side of your screen. One aspect that still holds up is the game’s weapon models, which are highly detailed and have decent reload animations, although some of the sound effects for a few of the firearms seem a bit off. (The K1 rifle in particular sounds more like a sub-machine gun than an assault rifle.)

One feature that I felt was very welcoming was the inclusion of a firing range. Almost every weapon available in the item shop can be tested out for free in the firing range, allowing players to find the weapon that’s right for them, as well as letting them try before they buy.

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I spent several hours just firing off different kinds of rifles and pistols in a shooting gallery against creepy androids that look like something out of the Terminator series.

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And while these androids certainly are creepy, a small cut-out for these droids will appear in the bottom left corner of the player’s screen. Each time a player fires at an android, the cut-out will show exactly where each bullet lands, so they’re also very useful for testing weapon accuracies. Not only that, but they’ve also included a target practice mini-game: As players attempt to shoot down 17 androids as fast and as accurately as possible, they can earn a little certificate of authenticity that pops up after completing each session.

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I’m putting this bad boy right up on my refrigerator!

As far as customization goes: It’s practically non-existent. There’s no option to fine tune weapons with mods or any kind of extra stats, so what you see is what you get. There’s also no option for character customization, either. Players have the option of picking out various character models from the shop, but most of them can only be purchased using real money.

One big issue with the game’s item shop is that absolutely nothing obtained from the item shop can be kept permanently, including the ones you pay for. It can be a real bummer once you’ve grown attached to a particular weapon set, only to have it taken away from you after a certain amount of days. It also doesn’t help that obtaining items using in-game points can take several hours just to purchase it for one day, and as soon as you equip that item, it starts a countdown that depletes even when you’re offline, so unless you’re a really dedicated player, you’ll only be getting about few hours of playtime for each.

Sudden Attack sports many expected community features such as friend lists, clans, leaderboards and also achievements.  While all these features work as well as they’re supposed to, it’s all standard fare for an online game.

Overall: Fair

Sudden Attack lives up to its goal of being “Back to Basics” FPS, but a lot could have been done to keep the game feeling fresh in today’s gaming era. Updated textures and character models would have made the game so much more respectable in the visuals department, but for those that have PCs that cannot handle any game made past 2004, or just want an FPS that’s free but with satisfying gunplay, Sudden Attack may be able to fill that void, just as long as those players can put up with not being able to keep the weapons they’ve grown attached to.

ArcheBlade recieves a “Hitman style” update

As of December 25th, CodeBrush Games has released a new update for their MOBA style fighting game: ArcheBlade, but along with this new update, they managed to sneak in a new premium skin that will give fans of a certain stealth action series a feeling of awesomeness. This new premium skin was made exclusively for their recently added hero, Hyde, with an outfit design that resembles Agent 47′s look from IO Interactive’s “Hitman” series.

Hitman Style

Along with the new premium skin, the update also includes:

  • Balance changes for Tiac, Renny (Glacier), Sewon, Cezanne and Hyde
  • Leaderboard changes
  • Animation fix for Renoah
  • UI changes
  • New portraits for Indiegogo crowd funders
  • Various system and bug fixes

For more information on this new update, you can check out the details here: http://steamcommunity.com/games/archeblade/announcements/detail/1892934239199704080

Kingdoms Rise

Kingdoms Rise is a Multiplayer Fantasy Combat Game featuring brand new game mechanics within its deep 360° sword fighting system and magic abilities. Customize to your heart’s content with a multitude of choices in armors, swords, spells, ranged weapons and more.

 

Features:

360* Sword Fighting: Parry, dodge, and strike in a realistic fashion as you battle it out with your foes in hand-to-hand combat requiring true skill and perfect timing.

Customization: Build out your ideal gladiator without worry of it impacting your viability in combat with a wide range of cloth and metal armors, weapons, and colors to choose from.

Go alone or with friends: Both one on one deathmatches and team deathmatches modes.

Spell Casting: Choose from an array of offensive and defensive spells to customize your fighting style with fire balls, heals, teleportation, and more!

Early Access: Kingdoms Rise Preview

By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)

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It is no real secret to fans of my articles that a strong focus on quality PvP tends to equate to a strong online experience in my book. Fighting it out with other people is something that gets my blood pumping, and sometimes a game comes on my radar that shows real potential in this regard. Kingdoms Rise is a rising star in the field of true skill-based PvP. This multiplayer fantasy combat game as they would like to call it is an arena PvP title with a decent focus on customization, both aesthetically as well as in terms of your armor, weapons, and spells.

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First I would like to note that the state I played the game in is still early access. The game is not finished at all, and players will first notice this when navigating its unfinished menus. Some of the textures are still placeholders waiting to be polished up for distribution, but the core mechanics of the combat are in a playable state that exceeds most competition in this field.

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Kingdoms Rise has its own special style; it is hard to explain since it pulls inspiration from everything. Warcraft, Anime, Medieval Realism, and even a touch of Pixar all seems to be present. When it comes to the combat though, Kingdoms Rise is in a realm of its own. Before you play the game, you can customize your character. This is more a visual customization as you won’t find yourself being locked in any strict class progression system. From shiny metal to scarves, you can give your character any type of armor without worry of it influencing your speed, strength of defenses as it’s just representing your style.

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The armor itself seems to pull mostly from the style used during the Roman Empire. Perhaps this image of ancient imperialism lends itself well to the ambiance the game is building, and strikes strong emotions in most western gamers. But don’t mistake this for thinking Kingdoms Rise is all about authentic gear. You can find plenty of over the top armor including giant shoulder pads. The major focus is just giving you enough options to design someone unique from most everyone else, and plenty more options are in the works for launch. When I made my shining knight in armor with his beautiful red cape, I was ready to head into battle and to fight it out on my first day as a gladiator.

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Kingdoms Rise doesn’t trap you in the mentality of a hero or enslaved gladiator. You can fight for whatever you believe you’re fighting for, as just another man in a suit of metal, with a weapon and powers ready to slice through anyone that looks at you wrong. Before you head straight into battle, you can choose what type of weapon you want to use, including a secondary weapon to keep your foes guessing. This can be anything from bombs and throwing axes to a bow. You can also choose what kind of spells you want to use while fighting with other people. There’s quite a variety in-game already, ranging from completely offensive to defensive. Some allow you to shoot a fire ball for example, and some help you to heal or gain distance from your opponent to recover. I personally liked the combination of healing and teleportation; the teleportation spell itself really helps you to parkour through the map, surprising unaware opponents with a sword to their back before they have time to brace for impact. There are basically all sorts of spells to trick your enemies with, and I really like the different styles you can use to kill your enemy with. These spells raise the skill ceiling quite a bit and differentiate playstyle between players more than most anything else in the game.

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The 360 degrees fighting system is the key to making Kingdoms Rise’ gladiatorial battles so intense. As of now I haven’t really felt a lot of difference in the weapons that you can pick, so I can’t comment on what weapon works best for certain fighting styles. But I can say that learning how to cross swords with this system takes some practice. When fighting with other players, you will notice that aiming your sword swings is important, simply targeting your enemy and slicing your way forward isn’t going to cut it. If you need to parry attacks or perhaps even block your attacks, you have to move your character in the direction so he is able to block or dodge the incoming attack. Mindlessly clicking your mouse tends to just leave you filled with openings, and filled with holes if your opponent knows what they are doing. If rapid reaction to melee strikes isn’t your cup of tea, you can try to disable your foes from a distance with bows and magic. But this also makes you quite vulnerable, especially if your opponent is packing a teleportation spell and can quickly close distance to you. I don’t advise blocking a fast moving sheet of steel with your wooden bent stick.

 

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Conclusion: Great

Like I said, the game is still in early access. But the only area the game is seriously lacking in is the polish of its menus and UI. The textures still look really basic, but when looking at the overall picture there is a lot of beauty to be seen. Many of the maps you will fight on have a heavy atmosphere and help put you in the shoes of your gladiator. Currently there aren’t many game modes apart from the basics like deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag modes. This game has a lot of potential, and I have to admit that I had a great time when I tried it out, especially the unique combat system that Kingdoms Rise features. PvP freaks like me will love the visceral feel of your shield narrowly deflecting a killing sword strike. This innovative game is definitely unique, and has the potential to do great things in the future if their launch is successful. But if you are more of a PvE player or just have a serious pet peeve towards unfinished UI, bide your time until the official launch. Despite the bugs though, it’s still worth the purchase to get into early access, and certainly more fun than most games on the market right now.

Currently there’s a 20% off holiday sale going for the next 40 hours so now is the time to check it out!

Hackers Take Down Multiple Game Services

DERP Offline

It’s an interesting end-of-year tale that seems too crazy to believe at first: a group of hackers known as DERP (DerpTrolling on Twitter) have laid claim to a large set of attacks aimed at various game servers including League of Legends, Dota 2, Battle.net, EA, and even Club Penguin.

The activity seemed to have started yesterday on League of Legends just before PhantomL0rd began streaming, and the group soon attached to his gaming, shutting down the servers of each game he played, from Dota 2 to Club Penguin. Unfortunately for the streamer, the activity culminated in a fake hostage situation at his own house that had him in handcuffs – you can hear the recount of his tale on YouTube.

The cyber attacks are continuing today, taking down Runescape.com most recently at the time of this post, as well as one of Westboro Baptist Church’s websites. We will attempt to update this post with any further gaming-related incidents as possible.

Path of Exile Looks Back at 2013

POE 2013

Grinding Gear Games has paused in reflection for the new year to take a look back on their successes for Path of Exile in 2013 – a significantly momentous year for the action RPG title.

Path of Exile’s 2013 yearbook includes a complete progression from open beta in January to a full commercial release in October and the addition of 3.7 million new players registered. The game’s already hit a record of nearly 70,000 concurrent online users (a number that plans to expand as PoE gets localized for more markets), and has won numerous awards from gaming media outlets.

To see more of Path of Exile’s year in review, check out the forum post from PoE’s lead developer.

The Repopulation Hosts New Year’s Eve Q&A

The Repopulation Pontoc

With their highly active Kickstarter campaign in motion, the Repopulation team will be ringing in the new year with a live Q&A session today on Twitch TV. Mike Oliver will be handling the Q&A session, along with a showcase of new gameplay footage and a discussion over the different kinds of “shells” that can be used in the game.

So if you have any questions about the upcoming MMORPG, be sure to check out their Q&A session later today.

Link: http://www.twitch.tv/deadpoolyplays
Time: December 31, 2013 at 8 PM CST

Dragon Legion

Dragon Legion is a multiplayer online card battle game where players can collect and summon the greatest army of mythical heroes and beasts! Work together with friends to harness the powers of fierce dragons and unleash it upon those who oppose you in this mobile title made for iOS (and soon Android OS) devices.

Features:

Tons of cards: Collect and evolve over 600 cards to build an unbeatable deck of legendary heroes and dragons.

Strong multiplayer and social functions: Create your own or join a guild to channel the power that comes from working together, then challenge other players from across the globe in real-time, 40-player Guild vs. Guild card battles.

Class system: Utilize a unique 3-class tactics system for the ultimate card battle experience.

Quests and exploration: Embark on dangerous quests to strengthen your hero and uncover hidden treasures.